BUFFALO, N.Y. – The first classes in what eventually would constitute the University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences were offered 100 years ago as the university developed from the Buffalo Medical College to a broad-based academic institution.
Within a short time, the college was home to 600 students and 31 faculty members.
Today, in its centennial year, the college is UB’s largest and most diverse school, comprising 25 departments, 16 academic programs, 23 centers and institutes, two art galleries and major theater and music performance venues. There are 450 faculty members, 220 professional and clerical staff, and 6,000 undergraduate and graduate majors.
The college will celebrate its 100th year with a series of on-campus events and others that will take place in cities in which many UB alumni live and work. Campus events this semester will include lectures by such visiting luminaries as popular cosmologist Rocky Kolb, Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter, mathematician Percy Deift and metaphysician David S. Oderberg.
“For 100 years, the College of Arts and Sciences has provided a vibrant core to this great university,” says Provost Charles F. Zukoski. “We celebrate the college’s excellent faculty who are committed to delivering a quality education and performing important, socially impactful research. As it embarks on its second century, the college is poised to become an even more extraordinary place to learn, collaborate and create.”
The faithful study of what are considered the “liberal arts” was extolled by Ovid as that which “humanizes character and permits it not to be cruel.” Their essential purpose continues to be the production of virtuous, knowledgeable and articulate individuals who will want to take a meaningful part in civic life. The term is interpreted in different ways, but most frequently embraces the courses of study pursued in the UB college: the humanities, arts and social and natural sciences.
“Highlighting and studying the history of the college itself, as we will do during this centennial year, is just one way to appreciate and improve our understanding of how our students and faculty have influenced the world and made it a better place,” notes Dean E. Bruce Pitman. “Continued success would not be possible without the support of our loyal alumni and friends who understand the value of public education and the importance of enriching the lives of our students and the greater community. With their help, we are offering more scholarships, research internships and study abroad opportunities.”
Some highlights of the centennial celebration for the fall semester are described below; more can be found on the college’s website: http://www.cas.buffalo.edu/about/college-centennial/centennial-events/.
- “Small Things Rightly Planted: a Celebration of the College of Arts and Sciences Centennial,” an exhibition of photos, letters and other archival materials that highlight the people, places and events associated with the college from 1913 to the present day. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 12 in the UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Place near Englewood and Kenmore avenues. The exhibition will be curated by Amy Vilz, university archivist.
- A lecture by Daniel Schacter of Harvard University titled “Constructive Memory and Imaging the Future.” The lecture, presented by the Department of Psychology, will take place at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in 280 Park Hall, North Campus. Schacter’s research focuses on psychological and biological aspects of human memory and amnesia, with emphasis on the distinction between conscious and non-conscious forms of memory and, more recently, on brain mechanisms of memory and brain distortion.
- The Department of Philosophy’s George F. Hourani Lecture Series. All lectures in the 2013 series, titled “The Metaphysics of Good and Evil,” will be delivered by metaphysician David S. Oldenburg, University of Reading, UK. The series will open at 4 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Center for Tomorrow, North Campus, with Oldenburg speaking on “Good: A Theory of Fulfillment.” Lecture 2, “Evil: A Theory of Privation,” will take place at 4 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Center for Tomorrow. Lecture 3, “What Survives Death: The person or just the soul?” will take place at 3 p.m. Sept. 26 in 141 Park Hall. The concluding lecture, “Morality: A Theory of Orientation,” will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Center for Tomorrow.
- Join Dean Bruce Pitman and College of Arts and Sciences’ faculty, staff and students for a Centennial Celebration featuring cake and ice cream from 1-3 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Flag Room in the Student Union, North Campus.
- The Department of Mathematics’ Myhill Lectures: Talks on Matrices, featuring guest lecturer Percy Deift, professor of mathematics, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. Deift is known for his work on spectral theory, integrable systems, random matrix theory and Riemann–Hilbert problems. All talks will take place at 4 p.m. in 250 Mathematics Building, North Campus. The series will open on Oct. 15 with Deift discussing “Toeplitz Matrices and Determinants under the Impetus of the Ising Model I.” Lecture 2, “Toeplitz Matrices and Determinants under the Impetus of the Ising Model II,” will be held on Oct. 16; Lecture 3, “Computing the Eigenvalues of a Random Symmetric Matrix: Universality Properties,” will take place on Oct. 17.
- The John W. Cowper Distinguished Visiting Lecture, presented by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, the Cowper Fund and the Department of Physics. Cosmologist Edward W. “Rocky” Kolb, Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, will deliver the Cowper lecture at 5 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Center for Tomorrow. A member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Kolb has worked on many aspects of the big bang cosmology, including baryogenesis, nucleosynthesis and dark matter. He is co-author with Michael Turner of the popular textbook “The Early Universe.” He and Turner were awarded the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics.